The Farm on Oak Creek

Snow Day

Snow-covered white dog sitting in the snow

Bear in his element

Okay, be kind, dear relatives from Duluth. I know you sneer each time I mention it, but I have snow! The big, heavy flakes began drifting downward at 10:30 this morning. I rushed outside to take a picture, only to discover you can’t take pictures of snow, at least not right after the storm starts. But watching the flakes made me want a fire, and hot chocolate. Hey, it’s Arizona. I have to snatch my cold moments when I can get them.

Unfortunately, I’d more than once put off bringing up wood from the lower pasture this past week. I had even commented to myself at dawn this morning that I should take advantage of the (relative) warmth and get to it. Oops. Now, I’d have to make my way down to the creek and up again, doing it without slipping and falling.

As I stared down at the creek and my carefully sorted piles of wood waiting there for me, the snowflakes started coming faster. If I wanted wood I’d better hurry. Just then, my new “ranch manager” Christina opened the door to her Jamboree, startling me. She was supposed to be in Flagstaff until tomorrow. “I didn’t want to get snowed in,” she said as she joined me at the top of the not-yet-icy stairway. Smart girl!

Then, because Christina is a younger model of me, she instantly offered to help me bring up wood. Down we went, carrying my big plastic trash can. The turkeys followed for a bit, wondering what we were doing, then realized their feet were getting cold and turned back. The sheep eyed us from the middle pasture as soft mini-drifts began to pile on their backs. Bear romped joyously around Moosie, then threw himself down on his back to roll in this wonderful cold white stuff that was already nearing an inch in depth. Moosie ignored him, only interested in getting closer to the creek. My lower pasture is presently filled thick green grass, untouched by frost. I fenced in an area for the sheep, who love it, but that leaves plenty of good forage for the deer, who have driven both dogs crazy for the last few nights.

By the time Christina and I were coming up to the house with my wood, my truck was cloaked and our earlier footprints had disappeared. I sent Christina away with a “thank you” bowl of freshly made chicken soup, then once more stood on the porch to watch the snow. There in the distance were three miserable turkeys, standing forlornly in front of the closed door to their coop. As far as they’re concerned it’s better to be caged than have to walk in that cold white stuff.

Knowing they were short of food, I made my cautious way down to the barn only to find a flock of LBB’s (little brown birds) inside. Cheeky little devils were feasting on my expensive organic feed! So that’s why I’m running out of turkey food so quickly. Since I can’t completely close the barn door–that’s how the barn cats come and go–it’s time to get lids for my food bins.

Armed with a flake of alfalfa for the sheep and the turkey food, I put my birds away, then put two buckets of water into the sheep shelter, hoping it stays liquid. When I turned around I found Bear still romping in the snow. He was doing his best to convince a returning Moosie that it was time to play. But his best buddy’s breed description does not include “almost impervious to inclement weather.” Moosie shot past me at a good clip on his way to his dog house. So Bear came bounding toward me, grinning and hopping. That left me no choice but to stand where I was until the joy was out of his massive system. After that, I followed Moosie to the safety of the house.

So, for the moment I’m living in a winter wonderland. I have my fire and I’ll have my hot chocolate once I finish writing this. Who knows? I might even get snowed in! What an interesting way to begin 2019. Happy New Year to you all!

© Denise Domning, 2023